Seattle (Wash.). City Clerk

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The position of City Treasurer was created in Seattle's first City Charter in 1869. The Treasurer administered the collection, management, and disbursement of all City monies, invested temporary surplus cash, and administered Local Improvement District assessments. The Treasurer, like the Comptroller, was an elected official until 1992, when a City Charter amendment abolished the two positions and consolidated the two departments into an executive agency, the Department of Finance.

From the guide to the Treasurer Annual Reports, 1906-1991, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Department of Licenses and Consumer Affairs was established in 1973 to issue business licenses, deal with weights and measures, provide consumer protection, education, and assistance, and manage animal control. In 1994, the department was abolished, and its functions were taken over by the Department of Finance.

From the guide to the Licensing and Consumer Affairs Annual Reports, 1974-1990, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The City Clerk maintains Seattle's legislative records, official filings, and the Seattle Municipal Archives; keeps the minutes of City Council meetings; and provides information services to city agencies and the public. Seattle's first City Charter allowed for a Clerk of the Common Council to be elected by the Council. In 1875 the position of City Clerk became elective and remained so until 1896 when the new charter designated the Comptroller ex-officio City Clerk. The Comptroller served as City Clerk through 1992. A 1991 City Charter amendment transferred the Comptroller's function to the Dept. of Finance and the City Clerk's Office became a division of the Legislative Dept. effective in 1993. The City Council was originally called the Common Council; in 1890 the new city charter created a bi-cameral legislative branch with a nine-member Board of Aldermen and a sixteen-member House of Delegates; the 1896 charter returned to a single body of thirteen members, elected from eleven wards and two at-large; this was known as the City Council after 1907.

From the description of City Clerk general files, 1874-1905 bulk 1884-1896. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 163884727

The Seattle Arts Commission (SAC), an advisory body of fifteen members appointed by the Mayor, was established in 1971 to support public arts programs and promote public awareness of the performing and fine arts. Staff support was originally provided by the Seattle Center. In 1973, SAC began administering the City's One Percent for Art Program. SAC replaced the Municipal Arts Commission (created in 1955 through Ordinance 84162), which advised City government regarding the artistic and cultural development of the City. In 1957, the advisory responsibility of the Commission was extended to recommendations regarding the design of new physical structures to be constructed in the City. In 1961, the Commission's responsibilities were broadened to include historic preservation recommendations.

From the guide to the Seattle Arts Commission and Municipal Art Commission Annual Reports, 1955-[ongoing], (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Seattle Women’s Commission was an advisory board created in 1971 to advise the Mayor, City Council, City departments and the Office of Women’s Rights on matters concerning women and sexual minorities. The Office for Women's Rights, an agency of the Executive Department, was established in 1973. Prior to 1973, the Women’s Division was a separate office within the Office of Human Resources, serving as staff support for the Seattle Women’s Commission. The Office developed and coordinated programs to promote equal opportunity for women and sexual minorities. The office was abolished in 1997, and its responsibilities were assumed by the Office for Civil Rights.

From the guide to the Office of Women's Rights Annual Reports, 1975-1985, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

Seattle began exploring the use of the Cedar River as a water source in the 1890s. A dam was built at Landsburg and water sent through a 29-mile pipeline to reservoirs in Seattle’s Volunteer Park and Lincoln reservoirs. The first water from the Cedar River was delivered to Seattle in 1901. A second pipeline was built in 1909 and a third in 1923. In 1924, the City began the process of managing the watershed with the goal of ensuring water quality for the long term. In 1962, landowners signed the Cedar River Watershed (CRWS) Cooperative Agreement, which set up a process of land transfers that resulted in Seattle's complete ownership of its watershed lands. This led to further procedures for fire protection and public access control. In 1996, the USDA Forest Service ceded its watershed land to the City, which gave Seattle final and sole ownership of the entire watershed.

From the guide to the Cedar River Watershed Cooperative Agreement Records, 1961-1987, (City of Seattle Seattle Municipal Archives)

Beginning in 1908, Seattle's City Charter has provided its citizens with the initiative petition system, allowing the citizenry a greater voice in city government through "direct legislation." Initiatives are written in the form of City ordinances. Signatures are gathered on the petitions during a 180-day period and then filed the City Clerk's Office. The Clerk transmits the petitions to the King County Office of Elections which checks voter registration lists to validate the signatures. If the petition contains sufficient signatures, it is forwarded to the City Council which in turn places the initiative on the ballot in the next city-wide election. The Council may decide to enact the initiative, making it a city ordinance, thereby eliminating the need for a public vote. Initiatives that are found to have insufficient signatures are placed on file with the City Clerk.

From the guide to the Initiatives, 1908-1994, (City of Seattle Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Seattle-King County Youth Commission was established in 1964 to advise the elected officials of Seattle and King County on issues such as juvenile delinquency and youth recreation. It also coordinated citizen input on these issues and served as a youth advocacy group. The commission consisted of 22 members, 11 appointed by the Mayor and 11 by the King County Executive. Membership was made up of eight youth, four representatives from youth agencies, four representatives from funding sources, and six community members. It was abolished in 1977. The commission’s predecessor was the Municipal Advisory Commission on Youth (MACY).

From the guide to the Seattle-King County Youth Commission Minutes, 1962-1970, (City of Seattle Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Municipal Court was created in 1955 under Chapter 290 of the Washington State Laws. It has exclusive original jurisdiction over violations of all city ordinances and collects fines and forfeitures relating thereto. The first judicial officer of Seattle was appointed by City Council in 1875 from among the King County Justices of the Peace serving the Seattle Precinct. In 1886, a charter amendment made each Seattle Precinct Justice a Police Justice with jurisdiction over ordinance violations. In 1891, State Law created a Municipal Court system that included a Justice Court and Police Court. Prior to establishment of the current court system, city ordinances were adjudicated in Police and Traffic Courts. Municipal Probation Service was established as part of the Municipal Court in 1968.

From the guide to the Municipal Court Annual Reports, 1945-[ongoing], (Seattle Municipal Archives)

Maintains the city's legislative records, official filings, and the Seattle Municipal Archives; keeps the minutes of city council meetings; and provides information services to city agencies and the public.

From the description of Fire marshal's monthly reports, 1901-1961. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70925003

From the description of City charters, 1869-1988. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70924999

From the description of Health officer reports, 1900-1901. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70925004

From the description of City budgets, 1927-1995. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70925002

The Board of Adjustment was created in 1957 by the new Zoning Ordinance, which was based on a Comprehensive Plan for the City. It was a division of the City Planning commission and had power to hear, decide, and grant or deny applications for variances and conditional use permits. The Board had seven members, appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council; members served for up to to three years. The Board began hearing zoning and variance appeals from decisions of the Hearing Examiner following the latter's creation in 1973. In 1980, application and appeal processes were consolidated in the Department of Construction and Land Use with development of the Master Use Permit system. The Board's functions were superseded and it was abolished in 1981 its "appellate functions" were transferred to the Office of the Hearing Examiner.

From the guide to the Board of Adjustment Annual Reports, 1957-1969, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Municipal Street Railway System was formed in 1919 when the city purchased the Seattle street car rail lines of the Puget Sound Traction, Light and Power Company, Seattle Division. Voters approved the purchase of the railway properties of the Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power Company, Seattle Division on 5 Nov. 1918. The company was owned by Stone & Webster, based in Massachusetts, which purchased utilities and street railways in the late 1890s. Formed in 1898 by Stone & Webster, the Seattle Electric Company consolidated property and rights of small transportation and utility businesses. Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power incorporated in 1912. The Municipal Street Railway System was administered by the Dept. of Public Utilities until 1932 when the department was abolished. The system was then under the authority of the Board of Public Works; by 1938, the system was archaic and bankrupt. It received a loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1939 and began a modernization program. The system was reorganized in 1939, changed its name to the Seattle Transit System, and came under the policy direction of the Seattle Transportation Commission from 1939 to 1951 and then the Seattle Transit Commission until 1971. The newly formed Dept. of Transportation operated the system until 1973 when it became part of Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (Metro). Records compiled by the City Clerk.

From the description of Seattle City Clerk inventory of property of Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power Company, Seattle Division, 1918. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 154691139

The City's first charter established the Marshall as the local peace officer. In 1883 the position of Chief of Police was established. The City Charter of 1890 created the Board of Police Commissioners which administered the Department and appointed officers. Following allegations of corruption, the Commission was abolished by the new Charter of 1896. In 1962, the Department assumed authority for policing the harborfront, formerly a function of the Harbor Department.

From the guide to the Seattle Police Department Annual Reports, 1894-[ongoing], (Seattle Municipal Archives)

Seattle City Light provides electricity and electrical and conservation services to its public and private customers. It is the largest public utility in the Pacific Northwest. Public responsibility for electrical energy dates to 1890 with creation of the Department of Lighting and Water Works. In 1902, Seattle voters passed a bond issue to develop hydroelectric power on the Cedar River under the administration of the Water Department. Electricity from this development began to serve Seattle in 1905. A City Charter amendment in 1910 created the Lighting Department. Under the leadership of Superintendent James D. Ross, the department developed the Skagit River hydroelectric project, which began supplying power in 1924. Both public and private power were supplied to Seattle until 1951 when the City purchased the private electrical power supply operations, making the Lighting Department the sole supplier. The Boundary Project in northern Washington began operation in 1967 and currently supplies over half of City Light's power generation. Approximately ten percent of City Light's income comes from the sale of surplus energy to customers in the Northwest and Southwest. The current name of the agency was adopted in 1978 when the Department was reorganized.

From the guide to the Seattle City Light Annual Reports, 1910-1985, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

John Riplinger was born on 12 Oct. 1864 in Minnesota. At the age of eighteen, he left the family farm to work in the office of a county auditor. He emigrated to Washington State in 1888 and settled in Skagit County. In 1890, Riplinger moved to Seattle where he hoped to go into the publishing business. In order to support himself and save some money, he went to work for the King County Auditor where he showed a remarkable aptitude for improving financial systems. He soon was appointed Chief Clerk. Gold fever hit Riplinger in 1897 and in October he moved to northern British Columbia to try his hand at prospecting. However, he apparently met with little success as he returned to Seattle within two months; in Jan. 1898 was appointed by Will Parry as chief clerk in the City Comptroller's Office. He continued in that job under Parry and the subsequent Comptroller, Frank Paul, until the spring of 1902 when he was elected Comptroller on the Republican ticket. Riplinger served two terms (four years) as Comptroller. He left office in March 1906. In May 1907 an audit of city finances revealed that under Riplinger's supervision, city funds were short by $68,178.91, and it was assumed that he embezzled the money. By the time this was discovered Riplinger had left the city, spent some time in California, and later was seen in Latin America. The City Council detailed City Treasurer George Russell to investigate the shortfall and to locate Riplinger. Russell spent approximately a year tracking Riplinger, using Pinkerton detectives, and negotiating with the U.S. State Dept. to have Riplinger extradited from Honduras. Within a month of the extradition treaty being enacted, Riplinger "voluntarily" came back to Seattle, claiming the timing was coincidental. The former Comptroller was charged in King County Superior Court with nine separate counts of larceny by embezzlement, the first case going to trial in Dec. 1909. The prosecutor tried what he felt was the strongest charge first: a case where the state was able to prove both the delivery and the cashing of a check from the Independent Asphalt Company; a City Council member witnessed Riplinger carrying the cash out of the bank. Riplinger's defense was based on the claim that the check, while initially written to indemnify the city for the contractor's work, was later offered as a personal loan, and the contractor, Herman Goetz, testified that this was the case. Neither Riplinger or Goetz could explain why, if this was so, they had not come forth with this information two years before when the accusations against Riplinger first were aired, and neither denied that Goetz and Riplinger were friends. As for the books Riplinger was seen removing from his desk upon leaving office, he claimed they were personal books and not the missing account books. Several witnesses testified to Riplinger's good character. The jury was instructed to consider this case only and not the other accusations against Riplinger. It took them only 30 minutes to find him not guilty. After the verdict, the prosecutor said he planned to try the other eight counts of larceny, and also threatened to prosecute Riplinger and Goetz for perjury. However, in Oct. 1910, he filed a motion to dismiss the other charges, admitting "there would be little hope of securing a conviction." After this announcement, Riplinger, who had been working as the manager of the Bismallah Bath House in Seattle, immediately resigned his position and made plans to return to his banana business in Honduras.

From the description of John Riplinger deficit records, 1907-1910. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 166145347

The Department of Streets and Sewers was responsible for the planning, construction, repair and cleaning of the City’s streets, sidewalks and sewers. City Council appointed the first Street Commissioner in 1875. The position came under the jurisdiction of the Board of Public Works in 1890. The position of Superintendent of Streets, Sewers and Parks was established in 1896, although authority over Parks was removed in 1904. The department was abolished in 1936 and became the Maintenance Division of the Engineering Department.

From the guide to the Department of Streets and Sewers Annual Reports, 1895-1931, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Planning Commission was established in 1924 and began meeting in 1925. It was established to address the large number of petitions and requests from various organizations and districts for major improvements involving new streets, street widening, bridges and regrades. In early years, the Commission included six appointive members and three ex-officio members; it later included citizens appointed by the Mayor for staggered three-year terms. By the 1950s the Commission was assisted by a permanent staff of professional planners and in 1967 the Charter was amended to enable the creation of a city planner position. The Planning Commission became part of the Department of Community Development (DCD) in 1972. DCD was abolished in 1992 and a Planning Department was established, absorbing the activities of the Office of Long Range Planning and the Human Services Strategic Planning Office.

From the guide to the Seattle Planning Commission Annual Reports, 1928-1967, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

A public waterworks was created by Charter Amendment in 1875. Seattle has owned and operated a municipal water system since 1891, when it purchased private local water companies and began development of the Cedar River Watershed. The system was administered by the Superintendent of Water under the auspices of the Board of Public Works until 1905, when the Department of Lighting and Water Works was created. In 1910, the Water Department became a separate entity. In 1997, the Water Department was absorbed into Seattle Public Utilities.

From the guide to the Water Department Annual Reports, 1894-1990, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Air Pollution Control Board was created by resolution in 1955. In 1958, resolutions abolished this board and created the Air Pollution Control Advisory Board. This was disbanded in 1967 with the creation of the Puget Sound Air Pollution Control Agency. Both boards were responsible for studying air pollution and advising the City Council on methods and legislation to combat the problem.

From the guide to the Air Pollution Control Advisory Board Minutes, 1955-1967, (City of Seattle Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Seattle Transportation Commission operated the public transit system from 1939 to 1951; the Seattle Transit Commission operated the bus system from 1951 until 1971, when it was transferred to Metro. The public transportation system was called the Seattle Transit System during these years.

From the guide to the Seattle Transit System Annual Reports, 1940-1971, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The original authority for a retirement system came from an amendment to the City Charter submitted to the voters at the Municipal election of March 8, 1927. By the mid-1950s, within certain limitations, all officers and employees of the City were able to have membership in the Retirement System. Exceptions were the uniformed members of the police and fire departments who were under relief and pensions systems prescribed by State law. Beginning in 1956, the Retirement System was coordinated with Federal Social Security through Ordinances 84510 and 84566.

From the guide to the City Employees' Retirement System Annual Reports, 1930-[ongoing], (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Civil Service Commission was established in 1896 to oversee the Civil Service Department, which administered the City's personnel system, including the fire and police forces, laborers, inspectors, and clerical, electrical, and library workers. The commissioners classified city services and employees, coordinated and administered physical, medical, and competence examinations, dealt with appointments, promotions, and removals, and conducted investigations in the event of an employee appeal. The years brought new employment issues, including those of wartime employment conditions and women in the workforce.

During the Commission's early years, it faced some opposition; in 1912, charged with wastefulness and inefficiency, the Commission underwent an investigation by the City Council. Subsequently, a 1917 report reclassified city services and employees. Other difficult times in the Commission's history included the first and second World Wars, as well as the Great Depression; budgets were often tight, and many city employees joined the armed services or found business opportunities in other industries. In 1937, the City's services were again reclassified.

In 1979, the City's personnel system was reorganized with the creation of a Personnel Department independent of the Commission. The Commission was reorganized with jurisdiction to hear employee appeals relating to demotions, terminations, suspensions, certain lay-offs, and violations of personnel rules. Three members, serving staggered three-year terms, comprise the Commission. One member is appointed by the mayor and one by the City Council; the third is elected by City employees.

From the guide to the Civil Service Commission Annual Reports, 1894-1998, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Office of Human Resources was established in 1971 in the Executive Department to develop, implement, and manage social services for low-income and disadvantaged residents of Seattle. In 1973 it was replaced by the Department of Human Resources. DHR administered family and youth services, housing and community services, human services, and an Office of Education.

The Department of Housing and Human Services was created in 1992, incorporating the operations of the Department of Human Resources with the City housing programs and Block Grant administration from the Department of Community Development.

From the guide to the Department of Human Resources Annual Reports, 1971-1988, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

John Riplinger was born on October 12, 1864 in Minnesota, the son of French immigrant farmers. At the age of 18, he left the family farm to work in the office of a county auditor. He emigrated to Washington State in 1888 and settled in Skagit County. In 1890, Riplinger moved to Seattle where he hoped to go into the publishing business. In order to support himself and save some money, he went to work for the King County Auditor where he showed a remarkable aptitude for improving financial systems. He soon was appointed Chief Clerk.

Gold fever hit Riplinger in 1897 and in October he moved to northern British Columbia to try his hand at prospecting. However, he apparently met with little success as he returned to Seattle within two months and in January 1898 was appointed by Will Parry as chief clerk in the City Comptroller's Office. He continued in that job under Parry and the subsequent Comptroller, Frank Paul, until the spring of 1902 when he was elected Comptroller on the Republican Ticket.

Riplinger served two terms (four years) as Comptroller. He left office in March of 1906. In May 1907 an audit of City finances revealed that under Riplinger's supervision, City funds were short by $68,178.91, and it was assumed that he embezzled the money. By the time this was discovered Riplinger had left the city, spent some time in California, and later was seen in Latin America.

The City Council detailed City Treasurer George Russell to investigate the shortfall and to locate Riplinger. Russell spent approximately a year tracking Riplinger, using Pinkerton detectives, and negotiating with the U.S. State Department to have Riplinger extradited from Honduras. Within a month of the extradition treaty being enacted, Riplinger “voluntarily” came back to Seattle, claiming the timing was coincidental.

The former Comptroller was charged in King County Superior Court with nine separate counts of larceny by embezzlement, the first case going to trial in December 1909. The prosecutor tried what he felt was the strongest charge first – a case where the state was able to prove both the delivery and the cashing of a check from the Independent Asphalt Company. (A City Council member witnessed Riplinger carrying the cash out of the bank.)

Riplinger’s defense was based on the claim that the check, while initially written to indemnify the city for the contractor’s work, was later offered as a personal loan, and the contractor, Herman Goetz, testified that this was the case. Neither Riplinger or Goetz could explain why, if this was so, they had not come forth with this information two years before when the accusations against Riplinger first were aired, and neither denied that Goetz and Riplinger were friends. As for the books Riplinger was seen removing from his desk upon leaving office, he claimed they were personal books and not the missing account books. Several witnesses testified to Riplinger’s good character.

The jury was instructed to consider this case only and not the other accusations against Riplinger. It took them only 30 minutes to find him not guilty. The prosecutor was taken aback, telling the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “I am unable to understand how any intelligent body of men could [find him innocent], and I am unable to reconcile myself to the verdict… I cannot help but think that the jury were swayed by sympathy.”

After the verdict, the prosecutor said he planned to try the other eight counts of larceny, and also threatened to prosecute Riplinger and Goetz for perjury. However, in October 1910, he filed a motion to dismiss the other charges, admitting “there would be little hope of securing a conviction.” After this announcement, Riplinger, who had been working as the manager of the Bismallah Bath House in Seattle, immediately resigned his position and made plans to return to his banana business in Honduras.

From the guide to the Riplinger Deficit Audits, 1907-1910, (City of Seattle Seattle Municipal Archives)

The City Clerk maintains the City's legislative records, official filings, and the Seattle Municipal Archives; keeps the minutes of City Council meetings; and provides information services to City agencies and the public. Seattle's first City Charter allowed for a Clerk of the Common Council to be elected by the Council. In 1875 the position of City Clerk became elective and remained so until 1896 when the new Charter designated the Comptroller ex-officio City Clerk. The Comptroller served as City Clerk through 1992. A 1991 City Charter amendment transferred the Comptroller's function to the Department of Finance and the City Clerk's Office became a division of the Legislative Department effective in 1993.

The Mayor is the chief executive officer of the City with responsibilities for law enforcement, appointing department heads, administering City departments and programs, and preparing and executing the City budget. Seattle's original Charter (1869) created the position of Mayor who served as ex-officio President of the Common Council. The 1875 Charter gave the Mayor a vote on Council. That was amended in 1886 to provide for a tie-breaking vote only. The 1890 Charter completely separated the Executive and Legislative branches. Mayoral terms were set at 4 years by the 1946 City Charter.

From the guide to the Mayors' Messages, 1896-1989, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Department of Community Development administered the City's comprehensive plan and provided direction and support for the City's physical and economic development through community planning. DCD was established in 1969 and assumed the responsibilities of the City Planning Commission and the Urban Renewal Program. In 1972, the Office of Economic Development was created in the Department to provide information to businesses that were expanding or relocating in Seattle. DCD was the lead agency for implementing various types of grant funded projects, such as Neighborhood Improvement Program, Targeted Neighborhood Assistance Program, and Neighborhood Development Program.

DCD was abolished in 1992; its programs were relocated in the Department of Neighborhoods, Department of Housing and Human Services, Planning Department, and other agencies. DCD records include material from the City Planning Commission, Zoning Commission, Metropolitan Arts Commission, Board of Adjustment, and Urban Renewal Program.

From the guide to the Department of Community Development Annual Reports, 1973-1988, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Human Rights Commission was created in 1963 through Ordinance 92191 to promote equality and understanding among Seattle residents and to study, investigate, and make recommendations regarding discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin. Other aims of the Commission were to promote "equality and understanding" through a public education program. The Commission's twelve members were "representative citizens of the city" appointed by the mayor and approved by City Council; initial members included representatives from the Seattle Urban League, King County Labor Council, and various religious groups.

In 1969, the Human Rights Department was created, incorporating a small Office of Human Rights in the Executive Department. The Human Rights Department took on the responsibilities of the study and investigation of human rights issues and recommendation of policies and legislation, while the Human Rights Commission continued in a primarily advisory capacity. In 1980, all employment and housing discrimination functions were consolidated under the Human Rights Department.

In 1995, the affirmative action monitoring function of the Human Rights Department was transferred to the Personnel Department.

From the guide to the Human Rights Department Annual Reports, 1963-1982, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

Although Seattle's first library association was organized in August 1868, the library was not a regular branch of city government until 1891. In 1896, with the establishment of a new charter, the management of the library, previously under the control of a library commission, was transferred to the position of librarian, who reported to the mayor and city council. In 1899, after several moves, the library moved from the Rialto Building to the Yesler Mansion. After a 1901 fire destroyed the library and its entire collection, Andrew Carnegie donated $200,000 for a new central library building. He later contributed another $20,000 for furnishings. The new central library was dedicated in 1906 and stood between Fourth and Fifth Avenues and Madison and Spring Streets.

In 1909, the state legislature removed all libraries in the state from the jurisdiction of the municipal civil service commissions so that the library could select its own employees.

Several other Carnegie-financed branches opened in Seattle neighborhoods following the dedication of the central library. These included the Greenlake, University, West Seattle, Queen Anne, Columbia, and Fremont branches, all built between 1910 and 1921. The Yesler branch (now Douglass-Truth), which opened its doors in 1914, was the first city-financed branch library. By 1949, the library had 11 branches.

The 1949 earthquake damaged the main library, however, and it found temporary housing until 1960, when the new library (built on the same site as the old Carnegie library) was dedicated. The library was outgrowing its space by the 1990s, and, in 1998, taxpayers approved $196.4 million in bonds for a new Central library, as well as additions and modifications to Seattle's branch libraries. The Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and his firm, Office for Metropolitan Architecture, were selected in 1999 to design the new 355,000-square-foot central library. The new Central branch of the Seattle Public Library opened in May 2004.

From the guide to the Seattle Public Library Annual Reports, 1894-[ongoing], (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Local Advisory Housing Commission was established in 1937 by Seattle City Council. In 1939, the Mayor appointed members of the newly-created Seattle Housing Authority. The Seattle Housing Authority is now a municipal corporation governed by an executive director who reports to a seven-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the Mayor. The agency provides over 6,000 housing units for more than 24,000 low-income Seattle residents.

The mission of the Seattle Housing Authority is "to enhance the Seattle community by creating and sustaining decent, safe, and affordable living environments that foster stability and increase self-sufficiency for people with low incomes." Its income comes from City grants, federal subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and rents.

Source: Seattle Housing Authority web site .

From the guide to the Seattle Housing Authority Annual Reports, 1940-[ongoing], (Seattle Municipal Archives)

A Fire Department was established by City Charter in 1883. It provided for equipment purchases, but not for hiring of firefighters. Following the Great Fire of 1889, a professional fire department was created with five district fire stations and purchase of a fire boat. The first Fire Chief of the professional department was Gardner Kellogg, who served 1890-1892 and 1895-1901. A Board of Fire Commissioners was established by the 1890 City Charter to prescribe rules and regulations for the Department. The Board's responsibilities included enforcing rules violations and appointing the Fire Chief and all subordinate officers. The Board was abolished with passage of a new City Charter in 1896.

The Department's mission is to curtail loss of life and property by fire through inspection and certification of building safety systems, public education, regulation of hazardous material storage, and fire suppression.

The position of Fire Marshall was established in 1901 with responsibility for inspecting buildings to ensure they were in compliance with the ordinances related to building construction and fire protection. Other duties included investigating cases of attempted arson, determining the causes of fires, and investigating the type and value of property injured or destroyed in fires. The Fire Marshall was appointed by the mayor and was to keep records of investigations and make monthly reports to the City Council.

In 1932, the Fire Chief was given responsibility for the appointment of the Fire Marshall; the former duties of the Marshall were assigned to the Fire Chief to be delegated as necessary. The Fire Marshall became instructor of the Fire Prevention and Inspection Force. In March of 1938, the position of Fire Marshall was abolished, but was reinstated just two months later in an ordinance that stated in part: "experience has demonstrated that the position of Fire Marshal[l] is necessary for the proper functioning of the Fire Department." Duties of the position included the former fire prevention and inspection duties as well as the supervision of the Fire Prevention and Inspection Force. In 1944, the Fire Marshall was given the added reponsibility of enforcing "safety regulations" in Seattle Harbor.

From the guide to the Fire Marshall's Monthly Reports, 1901-1961, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Law Department represents the City in all legal matters and litigation, provides legal advice and opinions to City departments and agencies, and is responsible for prosecuting violations of City ordinances in Municipal Court.

The position of City Attorney was established in 1875. The 1890 City Charter created the Law Department, headed by the Corporation Counsel. The title was changed to City Attorney in 1977. Seattle has been served by fifteen Corporation Counsels/City Attorneys since 1890, including A.C. Van Soelen (1930-1963), who held the position for 33 years.

From the guide to the Law Department Annual Reports, 1894-1991, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The City's first charter established the Marshall as the local peace officer. In 1883 the position of Chief of Police was established. The City Charter of 1890 created the Board of Police Commissioners, which administered the Department and appointed officers. Following allegations of corruption, the Commission was abolished by the new Charter of 1896. In 1962, the Department assumed authority for policing the harborfront, formerly a function of the Harbor Department.

Seattle's first police matron, Emma Taylor, was appointed in 1893 after the passage of a Washington law requiring cities with a population of more than 10,000 to hire a police matron. The matron would deal with all women and girls in police custody. In 1915, the position of Woman Superintendent was created in the Protective Division of the Police Department.

In 1933, a Women's Division was created in the Police Department; it was responsible for investigating "criminal exploitation of women and children" and assisting in the prosecution of sex offenses. To this end, female officers investigated public establishments including hotels, restaurants, dance halls, and skating rinks. The Division was also responsible for assisting lost or runaway children and delinquent minors. A female Superintendent headed the Women's Division, and all female officers and matrons were transferred to the new division. A 1934 ordinance expanded the duties of the Division; women officers were to "investigate...complaints of neighborhood disagreements" and patrol "hotels, rooming houses, public dance halls, restaurants, cabarets, skating rinks, theatres, pool halls, places where alcoholic beverages are dispensed" and other public establishments.

From the guide to the Police Department Women's Division/Night Patrol Reports, 1934-1939, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Department of Parks and Recreation maintains the City's parks, shorelines, and boulevards and administers community centers, public golf courses, and other athletic and cultural facilities. Seattle's first park was established in 1884 after David Denny donated land to the City for that purpose. At that time, a three-member park committee, with limited authority, was created to manage the nascent park system. A Board of Parks Commissioners was established in 1890 with control over all public parks and authority to appoint a Parks Superintendent. In 1896, the City Charter created the position of Superintendent of Streets, Sewers and Parks. The Parks Department became a separate entity in 1904. In 1926, a City Charter Amendment abolished the position of Superintendent, distributing its responsibilities between the Head Gardener and the Landscape Architect. A 1948 City Charter amendment required the Board of Park Commissioners to appoint a park superintendent to administer the department. In 1967, another City Charter Amendment reconstituted the Board as an advisory body to the Mayor and City Council, changed the agency name to Department of Parks and Recreation, and placed fiscal and operational administration under the superintendent.

In 1902 the City hired the Olmsted Brothers, the country's premier landscape architectural firm, to design a parks and boulevards system. Although not all of the plan was implemented, the Olmsted legacy is evident in many of Seattle's parks and boulevards. The City acquired significant amounts of property for park purposes following the turn of the 20th Century, but in 1926 further acquisition was limited by a City Charter amendment that stipulated only money in the Park Fund could be used for that purpose. However, in the 1970s, the Forward Thrust Bond issue, along with federal grants and the Seattle Model City Program, supported the largest expansion of the Park system in Seattle history. These programs funded more than 70 new parks and park facilities. The Department manages over 6,000 acres of park land, 25 community centers, four municipal golf courses, the Aquarium, and many other recreational and athletic facilities.

From the guide to the Department of Parks and Recreation Annual Reports, 1894-[ongoing], (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Board of Theatre Supervisors was created in 1923 with Ordinance 52969; its purpose was to regulate exhibitions of motion pictures, drama and opera performances, theaters, and other public entertainment. The Board was to enforce the ordinance, which prohibited the production or display of "obscene, indecent, or immoral" entertainments. The nine-member Board, which regulated entertainment and exhibitions "contrary to the public morals and good order," was appointed by the Mayor, with the stipulation that one member be involved in motion picture production or distribution and another be involved with the ownership or management of a motion picture theater. Earlier incarnations of the Board (then known as the Board of Censors) had between five and fifteen members; in many cases, a certain number of Board members were required to be women. Board members were authorized to enter theaters and perform inspections and to view and censor films before they were shown to audiences.

The Board of Theatre Supervisors was dissolved in 1968 through Ordinance 97321.

From the guide to the Board of Theatre Supervisors Documents, 1926-1965, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Division of Purchases within the Department of Finance was established in 1936 by Charter amendment, and the position of City Purchasing Agent was established in 1937 through Ordinance 67976 to act as the central purchasing agent for the City. (A Purchasing Department had formerly existed within the Department of Public Works.) The City Purchasing Agent, appointed by the Comptroller, dealt with purchase of and contracts for materials and equipment required by the various City departments. Depending on the price of the item required, the Purchasing Agent received bids from vendors (for purchases of more than $1000) or purchased items in the open market. The Division of Purchases was also responsible for inspection of the purchased goods.

The division was transferred to and established as a division of the Executive Department in 1973 with Ordinance 102151.

From the guide to the Division of Purchases Annual Reports, 1922-1972, 1937-1950, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Board of Public Works, originally established in the 1890 City Charter as a citizen group, was created to coordinate and handle contracting for public works projects. The Board also ensured that prevailing wage was paid on City projects. The Charter of 1896 reorganized the Board, and its members included the superintendents of City departments directly involved in public works. Members have included directors of Engineering, City Light, Water, Parks, and Administrative Services.

In 1968 the Underground Wiring Program was placed under supervision of the Board of Public Works. Resolution 21340 stipulated that the Departments of Lighting and Engineering, under the supervision of the Board of Public Works, should coordinate the placing of overhead facilities (such as electric and telephone wires) underground.

The Board was abolished by Charter amendment in 1992 and its functions absorbed by the Department of Administrative Services (DAS). DAS was eliminated in 1997 and its functions assumed by the Executive Department.

From the guide to the Board of Public Works Annual Reports, 1908-1990, 1947-1990, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Building Department was established in 1908 [see 1909 report] to manage public buildings and enforce construction codes. In 1912 the supervision of wharves and docks was placed within the Building Department. The Boiler Inspection Department was transferred to the Building Department in 1920. Building inspections and permits constituted a large portion of the department’s activities. The Civic Auditorium was also under the control of the Building Department from 1928 until its 1962 demolition.

The Building Department became part of the Department of Construction and Land Use in 1980.

Superintendents of Buildings: Francis Grant 1908-1911; R.H. Ober 1911-1914; T. Josenhans 19141918-; J.A. Johnson 1918-1920; Jas. E. Blackwell 1920-1922; Robert L. Proctor 1922-1926; G. W. Roberge 1926-1929; J.L. Hardy 1929-1931; W.C. Bickford, 1931-1932; W.A. Gaines, 1932-1934; Paul Fredrickson, 1934-1936; H.C. Ritzman, 1936-1938; Paul Fredrickson 1938-1939; Joseph Little 1939-1941; Charles C. Hughes, 1941-1944-; John B. Cain, 1944-1953; Arthur E.W. Dodds 1953; Fred B. McCoy, 1954-1966; C.S. McCormick 1966-1969; Lester J. Gillis (Acting Superintendent) 1970; Alfred Petty, 1971-1978; William Justen 1978-1980.

From the guide to the Building Department Annual Reports, 1894-1979, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Motor Transportation Division was established as a general service organization within the Executive Department on January 1, 1961. It provided automotive equipment services, shop services, communications services, and warehousing services to City departments. The Motor Transportation Division's primary responsibilities were purchasing, maintaining, and utilizing the City's fleet of cars and trucks; it was also responsible for repair on other City vehicles and equipment. The Communications Section installed and maintained Fire and Police Department communication systems.

The Division existed until 1980, when it was absorbed by the Department of Administrative Services.

From the guide to the Motor Transportation Division Annual Reports, 1965-1969, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Comptroller was responsible for supervising the City's financial affairs, including administration of the accounting system, payroll system, investments, and borrowing. The position of Comptroller was established by Charter in 1890 and was appointed by the Mayor. The 1896 City Charter designated the Comptroller the ex-officio City Clerk and made the position elective. A 1992 City Charter amendment abolished the positions of City Comptroller and City Treasurer, merging the two offices to create the Department of Finance.

After 1978, annual reports on the financial condition of the City were known as Comprehensive Annual Financial reports. This change reflected the implementation of a computer program, the Central Financial Management System. The position of City Clerk was made a separate position within the Legislative Department as of 1993.

The Comptrollers who have served the City include: Chauncey W. Ferris (1890-1892), J.M. Carson (1892-1894), Will H. Parry (1894-1900), Frank H. Paul (1900-1902), John Riplinger (1902-1906), Harry W. Carroll (1906-1910 and 1912-1938), William Bothwell (1910-1912), W.C. Thomas (1938-1958), Carl G. Erlandson (1958-1976), Edward L. Kidd (1976-1979), Tim Hill (1980-1985), and Norward J. Brooks (1986-1993).

From the guide to the Office of the Comptroller Annual Financial Reports, 1890-1988, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Employee Suggestion Award Program was created in 1951 by Ordinance 79944 to provide a means whereby employees could submit ideas which might result in more efficient City operation. A seven-member Suggestion Award Board, comprising members from different city departments and employee organizations, reviewed suggestions made by City employees. In some cases, employees whose suggestions were accepted received monetary awards. To be eligible for award, a suggestion had to extend public service without incurring additional City expense or to reduce City expenditure without reducing the quality of service.

The program was discontinued in 1997 and replaced with the Seattle Works! Excellence Program.

From the guide to the Suggestion Award Board Annual Reports, 1952-1983, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Office of the Hearing Examiner, established in 1973, hears appeals, protests, and other matters referred to it by City agencies, especially regarding land-use issues and housing and employment discrimination complaints. Hearing Examiners are appointed by the City Council from a group of three people chosen by the City Personnel Director, the Office of Citizen Complaints Director, and a representative from the Seattle/King County Bar Association.

The Office became part of the Municipal Court in 1975, and in 1977 it became an independent office.

From the guide to the Office of the Hearing Examiner Annual Reports, 1983-1988, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The 1890 Charter established a Board of Health. Among the Board's duties was appointment of a Health Officer who would act as "city physician" and serve as the executive of the Board.

The Health Officer had the responsibility of enforcing city health ordinances and the Board of Health's regulations; other duties included visiting public buildings and reporting on their level of sanitation, making monthly and annual reports on birth, death, and disease statistics, and recording births, deaths, and burials. The physicians and midwives of the city were obligated to report births, occurrences of infectious disease, and deaths to the Health Officer, who was also responsible for issuing permits for disinterment and exhumation.

The Health Officer was also involved with quarantining citizens suffering from "smallpox, yellow fever, Asiatic cholera, or other infectious disease" as necessary; flags and placards indicating the nature of the disease were posted at the houses of the ill, and the names of infected persons were reported to the Police Department, superintendent of schools, and the public librarian.

In 1908, the mayor-appointed position of Commissioner of Health took over the powers and responsibilities of both the Health Officer and the Board of Health.

From the guide to the Health Officer Reports, 1900-1901, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Seattle City Council created the position of Health Officer in 1877 to abate nuisances affecting the public health and to prevent the spread of contagious disease, especially samllpox. Between 1877 and 1890, ten different local doctors served as Health Officers. The Department of Sanitation, under the direction of the Board of Health, was created in 1890 under the City's first home rule Charter; the Board had authority to appoint a Health Officer. The Board of Health was imbued with authority to supervise the health and sanitation of the City. A Market Inspector, under the supervision of the Health Officer, was appointed in 1891 to regulate the sanitation of Seattle's public markets. A City Charter amendment in 1908 abolished the Board of Health, replacing it with a new Department of Health administered by a Commissioner of Health appointed by the Mayor. Researchers should see pages 77-107 in the 1939-1943 Annual Report for a detailed history of the health and sanitation department from 1877 to 1943.

The Department of Health merged with the King County Department of Health in 1951. Prior to 1981, the City of Seattle administered the department with the two jurisdictions providing funding in proportion to their populations. Reorganization in 1981 placed administrative control in the hands of the County while the City retained direct policy and funding control over the Seattle Services Division. Departmental records are managed by King County.

From the guide to the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health and Department of Health Annual Reports, 1894-1983, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The General Services Department was established in 1971 with responsibility for management, planning, and coordination of necessary services common to City Departments. These included management and maintenance of the City’s vehicle fleet, coordination and planning of the City’s communications system, provision of support services such as printing, duplicating, and warehousing, and provision of data processing services.

Before 1971, General Services was located within the Executive Department. In 1980, the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) was formed by merging functions of the General Services Department, Building Department, Division of Motor Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget. DAS was abolished in 1997 when its functions were assumed by the Executive Services Department.

From the guide to the Department of Administrative Services and General Services Department Annual Reports, 1971-1989, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Public Utilities Department was created in 1908 to regulate utility companies -- including telephone, telegraph, railway, gas, sewers, and electric utilities -- doing business in the City of Seattle. A Superintendent of Public Utilities was appointed to oversee all franchise work in the City, keeping records of start and end dates on jobs as well as maps and drawings showing the location of each utility. The Superintendent also dealt with franchise applications, submitting applications regarding each to the Board of Public Works.

The department also administered the Municipal Street Railway System from 1919 until 1932, when the Public Utilities Department was abolished.

From the guide to the Public Utilities Department Annual Reports, 1908-1931, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Municipal Street Railway System was formed in 1919 when the City purchased the dilapidated rail lines of the Puget Sound Traction, Light and Power Company. The price of $15 million was the subject of controversy amid City Council members; Oliver Erickson, who opposed the purchase, estimated the true value of the lines at closer to five million. However, Seattle citizens supported purchase of the rail lines by an overwhelming margin, and the ordinance authorizing the purchase was passed in March of 1919. Allegations of bribery for City Council votes in favor of the purchase continued for several years; Mayor Hugh Caldwell, elected in 1920, initiated an investigation, but the suspicions were never proven.

The Municipal Street Railway System was bogged down by debt and other issues from its outset; for example, the first annual report (1919-1920) complains of too much interference from the City Council, presses for regulation of "jitneys," which were railways' major competitors for business, and demands that the City refuse to recognize the rights of railway employees to organize.

The System was administered by the Department of Public Utilities until 1932, when the Department was abolished; it then came under the authority of the Board of Public Works. With a $10 million loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the system was able to purchase buses and pay off the Puget Power debt, and was reorganized as the Seattle Transit system in 1939 (see record series 9380 and 9379).

From the guide to the Municipal Street Railway Annual Reports, 1919-1936, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Municipal Street Railway System was formed in 1919 when the City purchased the Seattle street car rail lines of the Puget Sound Traction, Light and Power Company, Seattle Division. Voters approved the purchase of the railway properties of the Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power Company, Seattle Division on November 5, 1918. The Company was owned by Stone & Webster, based in Massachusetts, which purchased utilities and street railways in the late 1890s. Formed in 1898 by Stone & Webster, the Seattle Electric Company consolidated property and rights of small transportation and utility businesses. Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power incorporated in 1912.

The Municipal Street Railway System was administered by the Department of Public Utilities until 1932 when the Department was abolished. The System was then under the authority of the Board of Public Works. By 1938, the System was archaic and bankrupt. It received a loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1939 and began a modernization program. The System was reorganized in 1939, changed its name to the Seattle Transit System, and came under the policy direction of the Seattle Transportation Commission from 1939-1951 and then the Seattle Transit Commission until 1971. The newly formed Department of Transportation operated the System until 1973 when it became part of Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (Metro).

From the guide to the Puget Sound Traction, Light and Power Company Maps and Property Inventory, 1914, (City of Seattle Seattle Municipal Archives)

Seattle amended its City Charter in 1883 to establish a fire department. It provided for equipment purchases, but not for hiring firefighters. By 1889, Seattle had seven volunteer fire companies. Following the Great Fire of 1889, a professional fire department was created with five district fire stations and purchase of a fire boat. The first Fire Chief of the professional department was Gardner Kellogg, who served 1890-1892 and 1895-1901. A Board of Fire Commissioners was established by the 1890 City Charter to prescribe rules and regulations for the Department. The Board's responsibilities included enforcing rules violations and appointing the Fire Chief and all subordinate officers. The Board was abolished with passage of a new City Charter in 1896. The Department's mission is to curtail loss of life and property by fire through inspection and certification of building safety systems, public education, regulation of hazardous material storage, and fire suppression.

The position of City Electrician was created in 1909 by Ordinance 22354 as part of the Special Service Corps. The City Electrician was originally in charge of the Fire Alarm Telegraph System, the Police Signal and Telephone System, the wiring of public buildings, and other responsibilities. Responsibility for inspection of electrical wiring and equipment installed in and about buildings was transferred to the Building Department in 1914. In 1918, through Ordinance 38896, the title of City Electrician was changed to that of Superintendent of Fire Alarm and Police Signal Systems, a position filled by appointment by the Chief of the Fire Department.

From the guide to the Seattle Fire Department Annual Reports, 1895-1989, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Harbor Department was created by the City Charter of 1890. The Charter authorized the City Council to regulate wharfage and dockage tolls, regulate landings and berths for water craft, and provide general control of wharves and docks. The City Council could also order construction of wharves, docks, and other "landing places." The Port Warden was appointed by the mayor as the head of the Harbor Department.

In 1962, the charter article creating the Harbor Department and office of the Port Warden was repealed by charter amendment; the functions of the department were assigned to other city departments by ordinance.

From the guide to the Harbor Department Annual Reports, 1894-1950, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The Seattle Center Department was created in 1965 to administer, manage, and control the facilities on the site of the 1962 World's Fair. The facilities at the Seattle Center date back to 1926 with completion of the construction of the Civic Auditorium, Civic Arena, Veterans Hall, and the Civic Playfield. The property expanded to 74 acres in 1962 to accomodate the World's Fair.

The Center's purpose is to be an active civic center providing facilities and programs supporting the arts, education, sports, and entertainment. It was home for the Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and four resident theaters. In addition, four facilities exist on the grounds that are not owned by the city: the Space Needle, Memorial Stadium, the Experience Music Project, and the Pacific Science Center.

The Seattle Center Foundation, incorporated in 1977 to enhance the Seattle Center as the regional focus for culture and urban recreation, contracted with the Center in 1984 for administrative staff, basic operating expenses, and some limited office services.

From the guide to the Seattle Center Annual Reports, 1966-[ongoing], (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The City Clerk maintains the City's legislative records, official filings, and the Seattle Municipal Archives; keeps the minutes of City Council meetings; and provides information services to City agencies and the public. Seattle's first City Charter allowed for a Clerk of the Common Council to be elected by the Council. In 1875 the position of City Clerk became elective and remained so until 1896 when the new Charter designated the Comptroller ex-officio City Clerk. The Comptroller served as City Clerk through 1992. A 1991 City Charter amendment transferred the Comptroller's function to the Department of Finance and the City Clerk's Office became a division of the Legislative Department effective in 1993.

Introduction to the General Files

The General Files collection documents City of Seattle activities during the last quarter of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century through the voices of Seattle residents and City officials as they struggle to address myriad issues facing a city experiencing enormous growth and change.

This guide is intended to accompany the online database located on the Seattle Municipal Archives website. Documents in the General Files are described and indexed in the database, which is located at http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~public/genr2.htm

Many individuals have contributed to the General Files project. Scott Cline and Anne Frantilla provided overall project support and wrote the Guide. Eric Ervin was hired, with a grant from the King County Landmarks and Heritage Commission, as the first project indexer. A portion of the data entry and cataloging was accomplished by Allison Duzenski, Andrew Neff, and Tara Williams. Ernie Dornfeld provided technical support in database construction and thesaurus enhancement.

Seattle's Early Years

Seattle experienced phenomenal growth between its incorporation in 1869 and the first decade of the 20th Century. The population tripled from 1,107 in 1870 to 3,533 in 1880; by 1890, it had grown twelve-fold, to 42,800 inhabitants. By 1900, the population had doubled again and was at 80,671. City government struggled to meet the demands for water, sewer, transportation, and other essential services as the population increased. Benezette Williams, hydraulic engineer from Chicago, was employed in 1889 to develop a plan for Seattle's water system. Reginald H. Thomson was appointed City Engineer in 1892 and advanced his vision of a City with fewer hills, wider streets, and a clean water supply. The Olmsted Brothers, a nationally renowned landscape architecture firm, was hired in 1902 to design a comprehensive system of parks and boulevards.

Several key events mark this time period and helped to shape Seattle as it grew. Seattle lived through one of its darker moments with the anti-Chinese riot of 1886. In that year, discriminatory and racist feelings towards the Chinese reached a peak when a crowd of workers herded almost every Chinese resident in Seattle to the docks for departure to San Francisco. There was not room for everyone on the ship; when the remaining Chinese were offered protection, a riot erupted on the docks and martial law was declared. The forces of civic order eventually controlled the situation.

A year later, 200 Japanese arrived to work in the area. By 1900 Seattle's Japanese population increased to 3,000 people, making it the City's largest minority community. It held this status until the population was removed to internment camps during World War II. By contrast, Seattle's African-American population grew from under 20 in 1870 to just 400 in 1900.

The Great Fire of June 6, 1889 devastated the city's business district and waterfront, engulfing over 30 blocks and destroying more than 100 acres. Following the fire, the burn district was filled with tents which provided temporary shelters for homes and businesses. Seattle was forced to rethink and rebuild its water supply and fire prevention systems. Restrictions were imposed on what types of building methods and materials could be used in new construction. The City took the opportunity to widen and straighten the streets, to improve the docks and wharves, and to lessen the burdensome street grades.

The Depression of 1893 was one of the worst in American history, and Seattle was not exempt from its effects. Within a year, 11 Seattle banks closed and many local businesses failed. The Depression lasted four years, but came to an end in Seattle with news of gold discoveries in the Canadian Yukon. The Klondike Gold Rush of 1897 triggered the movement of thousands of people through Seattle to the gold fields. The City reaped the benefits as it exploited its existing shipping lines and its nearness to the Klondike to serve as the outfitting post and debarkation point for prospectors and as the assay center for those who successfully mined the gold.

The geographic boundaries of Seattle also changed dramatically during this period. The original incorporation of Seattle in 1869 included 10.86 square miles. In 1891 "north Seattle" was annexed, adding nearly 17 additional square miles and more than doubling Seattle's geographical area. Areas annexed included Magnolia, Wallingford, Green Lake, and Brooklyn. The biggest changes in Seattle's boundaries occurred between 1907 and 1910, when Ravenna, South Park, Columbia, Ballard, Georgetown, Southeast Seattle, West Seattle, and Rainier Beach were annexed, increasing the City's size to over 67 square miles.

Seattle's population growth and concomitant service needs, effects of the Great Fire, and Washington Statehood all contributed to extraordinary changes in the structure of City government in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Seattle was incorporated in 1869 and for 20 years operated with essentially a volunteer government. Local business leaders took their turns serving on City Council or as Mayor; the City contracted with local engineers whenever public works projects were needed; fire protection was the purview of volunteer fire companies; and only a few City government workers were full-time employees. However, this changed dramatically in 1890 with adoption of the City's first freeholders' City Charter.

Washington became a state in 1889 and its new constitution required Seattle to write a new City Charter. Its framers, who had witnessed the incredible growth in population and recognized the inability of the City to meet many basic municipal needs, created a professional City government that included several regulatory commissions to oversee the police, fire, public works, library, health, and other functions. A bicameral City Council (Board of Aldermen and House of Delegates) was established. Thirteen City departments were created to meet the service needs of the growing metropolis.

The 1890 Charter fashioned an unwieldy, unworkable legislative structure. In addition, the Police Commission and Fire Commission became political hotbeds rife with corruption and political animosities. A new Charter in 1896 abolished the bicameral legislature and two commissions. However, the concept of a professional, bureaucratic government structure was preserved.

The 1890s and the first decade of the 20th century witnessed monumental change in the way the City conducted its business and the services it provided its citizens. Municipally owned water and sewer systems were created, publicly owned electricity was generated for the first time, public parks were established and the park system extended, systems for permitting and licensing were standardized, and the physical face of a modern city was taking shape. The General Files provide a fascinating glimpse at the workings of City government during this period of change.

From the guide to the General Files, 1874-1905, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The position of City Surveyor was established in 1873 by City Charter; in 1890, the name of the position was changed to City Engineer. In 1931 the engineering functions performed for City Light were transferred to that department.

The Office of Traffic Engineer was established by the Civil Service Commission in 1930 and was part of the Department of Streets and Sewers until 1936. The Streets and Sewers Department, along with Traffic, became part of the Engineering Department in March 1936 through a charter amendment.

In 1955 the Seattle Sewer Utility was created by Ordinance 84390; the sewer utility was administered through the Engineering Department. The first director was appointed in 1959. In 1978, as part of a solid waste management program established by Resolution 25872, the Engineering Department was assigned the task of developing recycling and composting projects and programs. In 1980 the Recycling and Waste Reduction activities were initiated within the Engineering Department and a composting program was initiated.

The department was called either the Engineering Department or the Department of Engineering through 1997, when it was abolished and its functions reorganized into the Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities Departments.

List of City Engineers:

H.J. Stevenson 1865; W.B. Hall 1875; R.L. Thorn 1875-1876; P.G. Eastwick 1876-1878; M.J. Costello 1878-1879; F.H. Whitworth 1879-1880; Joseph M. Snow 1882-1883; Reginald H. Thomson 1884-1885; Albro Gardner 1886-1887; John G. Scurry 1888-1890; M. Stixrud [1890?]; Albro Gardner 1890-1892; Reginald H. Thomson [1892-1911?]; Arthor H. Dimock 1911-1922; James D. Blackwell 1922-1927; William C. Morse 1927-1928; William D. Barkhuff 1928-1930; R.H. Thomson 1930-1931; Daniel W. McMorris 1931-1932; Melvin O. Syliaasen 1932-1934; Thomas R. Beeman 1934-1936; Nathaniel A. Carle 1936-1938; Charles L. Wartelle 1938-1947; C. G. Will, Acting 1947-1948; Ralph W. Finke 1948-1952; R.R. Hubbard, Acting 1952-1953; William F. Parker 1953-1947; Roy W. Morse 1957-1971; Robert J. Gulino 1971-1974; Paul A. Wiatrak 1974-

From the guide to the Seattle Engineering Department Annual Reports, 1899-1989, (Seattle Municipal Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Riplinger Deficit Audits, 1907-1910 City of Seattle SeattleMunicipal Archives
creatorOf Public Utilities Department Annual Reports, 1908-1931 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle (Wash.). City Clerk. Seattle City Clerk inventory of property of Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power Company, Seattle Division, 1918. Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Housing Authority Annual Reports, 1940-[ongoing] Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Mayors' Messages, 1896-1989 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Motor Transportation Division Annual Reports, 1965-1969 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Department of Streets and Sewers Annual Reports, 1895-1931 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle-King County Department of Public Health and Department of Health Annual Reports, 1894-1983 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Air Pollution Control Advisory Board Minutes, 1955-1967 City of Seattle SeattleMunicipal Archives
creatorOf Department of Human Resources Annual Reports, 1971-1988 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Treasurer Annual Reports, 1906-1991 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Suggestion Award Board Annual Reports, 1952-1983 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Board of Theatre Supervisors Documents, 1926-1965 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Cedar River Watershed Cooperative Agreement Records, 1961-1987 City of Seattle SeattleMunicipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Fire Department Annual Reports, 1895-1989 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Department of Administrative Services and General Services Department Annual Reports, 1971-1989 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Arts Commission and Municipal Art Commission Annual Reports, 1955-[ongoing] Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Initiatives, 1908-1994 City of Seattle SeattleMunicipal Archives
creatorOf Civil Service Commission Annual Reports, 1894-1998 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Office of Women's Rights Annual Reports, 1975-1985 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle (Wash.). City Clerk. Mayor's messages and vetoes, 1896-1985. Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle-King County Youth Commission. Seattle-King County Youth Commission minutes, 1962-1970. Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Police Department Women's Division/Night Patrol Reports, 1934-1939 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf General Files, 1874-1905 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Board of Adjustment Annual Reports, 1957-1969 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf City Employees' Retirement System Annual Reports, 1930-[ongoing] Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle (Wash.). City Clerk. City Clerk general files, 1874-1905 bulk 1884-1896. Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Building Department Annual Reports, 1894-1979 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle (Wash.). City Clerk. City budgets, 1927-1995. Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Water Department Annual Reports, 1894-1990 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Department of Community Development Annual Reports, 1973-1988 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Health Officer Reports, 1900-1901 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Law Department Annual Reports, 1894-1991 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Engineering Department Annual Reports, 1899-1989 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Transit System Annual Reports, 1940-1971 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Department of Parks and Recreation Annual Reports, 1894-[ongoing] Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Public Library Annual Reports, 1894-[ongoing] Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle (Wash.). City Clerk. John Riplinger deficit records, 1907-1910. Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle (Wash.). City Clerk. Health officer reports, 1900-1901. Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Office of the Hearing Examiner Annual Reports, 1983-1988 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Planning Commission Annual Reports, 1928-1967 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Center Annual Reports, 1966-[ongoing] Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle City Light Annual Reports, 1910-1985 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Office of the Comptroller Annual Financial Reports, 1890-1988 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle-King County Youth Commission Minutes, 1962-1970 City of Seattle SeattleMunicipal Archives
creatorOf Municipal Court Annual Reports, 1945-[ongoing] Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle (Wash.). City Clerk. Fire marshal's monthly reports, 1901-1961. Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Board of Public Works Annual Reports, 1908-1990, 1947-1990 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Puget Sound Traction, Light and Power Company Maps and Property Inventory, 1914 City of Seattle SeattleMunicipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle (Wash.). Board of Theatre Supervisors. Board of Theatre Supervisors documents and annual reports, 1926-1961. Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Division of Purchases Annual Reports, 1922-1972, 1937-1950 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle Police Department Annual Reports, 1894-[ongoing] Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Harbor Department Annual Reports, 1894-1950 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Municipal Street Railway Annual Reports, 1919-1936 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Seattle (Wash.). City Clerk. City charters, 1869-1988. Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Licensing and Consumer Affairs Annual Reports, 1974-1990 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Fire Marshall's Monthly Reports, 1901-1961 Seattle Municipal Archives
creatorOf Human Rights Department Annual Reports, 1963-1982 Seattle Municipal Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
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associatedWith Lester, Herrick, and Herrick Company. corporateBody
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associatedWith One Percent for Art (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith Pacific Science Center corporateBody
associatedWith Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. corporateBody
associatedWith Port of Seattle corporateBody
associatedWith Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power Company corporateBody
associatedWith Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power Company. Seattle Division. corporateBody
associatedWith Riplinger, John person
associatedWith Riplinger, John, b. 1864. person
associatedWith Ross, J. D. (James Delmage), 1872-1939 person
associatedWith Russell, George F., city treasurer. person
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associatedWith Seattle Arts Commission corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle Center Opera House corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle Center (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle City Employees' Retirement System corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle City Light corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle City Light. Office of Conservation corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle Housing Authority corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle Human Rights Commission corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle-King County Youth Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle Model City Program corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle Municipal Street Railway corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle Planning Commission corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle Public Library corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle Symphony Orchestra corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle Transit System corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Board of Adjustment corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Board of Aldermen. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Board of Health corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle Wash.). Board of Park Commissioners corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.) Board of Public Works person
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Board of Theatre Supervisors. corporateBody
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associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Civil Service Commission corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Civil Service Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Committee on Fire and Water. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Committee on the Whole. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Common Council. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Comptroller's Office. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Corporation Counsel corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Administrative Services corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Buildings, Bridges, and Wharves corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Buildings, Bridges, and Wharves. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Community Development corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Health and Sanitation corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Human Resources corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Licenses and Consumer Affairs corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Lighting and Water Works corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Parks corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Parks and Recreation corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Streets and Sewers corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Division of Purchases corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Engineering Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Fire Alarm Superintendent corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Fire Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Fire Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Fire Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Fire Marshall corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). General Services Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Harbor Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Health Officer corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). House of Delegates. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Humane Officer corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Human Rights Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Law Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Lighting Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Mayor. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Motor Transportation Division corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Municipal Art Commission corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Municipal Light and Power Plant System corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Office of Hearing Examiner corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Office of the Treasurer corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Office of Women's Rights corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Police Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Police Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Police Dept. Rehabilitation Camp corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Police Dept. Rehabilitation Project corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Police Dept. Women's Division corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Public Employment Office corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Public Utility Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Refuse Destructor No. 1 corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Suggestion Award Board corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Superintendent of Water Works. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Traffic Division corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Water Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). Water Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Seattle Women's Commission corporateBody
associatedWith Space Needle (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Dept. of State. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Forest Service. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Works Progress Administration corporateBody
associatedWith Washington (State). Municipal Court (Seattle) corporateBody
associatedWith Weyerhaeuser Company corporateBody
associatedWith Yesler Terrace Garden Community (Seattle, Wash. : Public housing development) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Washington, Lake (Wash.)
Georgetown (Seattle, Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle Center (Seattle, Wash.)
West Seattle (Seattle, Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Madison Street (Seattle, Wash.)
Tukwila (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Washington (State)--Seattle
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
King County (Wash.)
Ballard (Seattle, Wash.)
Washington (State)--Seattle
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Washington (State)--Seattle
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Cedar River (King County, Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Renton (Wash.)
Cedar River Watershed (King County, Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
James Street (Seattle, Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Madrona (Seattle, Wash.)
Washington (State)--Seattle
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Washington (State)--Seattle
East Jefferson (Seattle, Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Washington (State)--Seattle
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Washington (State)--Seattle
United States
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
North Seattle (Seattle, Wash.)
Alaska
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Yesler Way (Seattle, Wash.)
Seattle
Washington (State)--Seattle
Seattle (Wash.)
Green Lake (Seattle, Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Fremont (Seattle, Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Subject
Municipal courts--Washington (State)--Seattle
Liability for fire damages--Washington (State)--Seattle
Discrimination in employment--Washington (State)--Seattle
Warehouses--Washington (State)--Seattle
Vital statistics
City planning
Race discrimination--Washington (State)--Seattle
Performing arts--Washington (State)--Seattle
Water resources development
Cable television--Washington (State)--Seattle
Civil rights
Streets
Low-income housing--Washington (State)--Seattle
Waterfronts--Washington (State)--Seattle
Purchasing departments--Washington (State)--Seattle
Traffic accidents--Washington (State)--Seattle
Minorities--Employment--Washington (State)--Seattle
Art, Municipal--Washington (State)--Seattle
Housing authorities--Washington (State)--Seattle
Women-owned business enterprises--Washington (State)--Seattle
Quarantine
Juvenile delinquency--Washington (State)--Seattle
Labor--Law and legislation--Washington (State)--Seattle
Shipping--Washington (State)--Seattle
Fire extinction
Fire prevention--Inspection
Washington (State)
Amusements--Washington (State)--Seattle
Railroads, Cable--Washington (State)--Seattle
Civil rights--Washington (State)--Seattle
Housing
Communicable diseases
Water-pipes--Washington (State)--Seattle--Maintenance and repair
Imports--Washington (State)--Seattle
Women domestics--Washington (State)--Seattle
Community health services--Washington (State)--Seattle
Water-supply
Municipal lighting--Washington (State)--Seattle
Zoning--Washington (State)--Seattle
Seattle
Waste minimization--Washington (State)--Seattle
Traffic engineering--Washington (State)--Seattle
Right to housing--Washington (State)--Seattle
Right of way
Initiatives in local government--Washington (State)--Seattle
Policewomen--Washington (State)--Seattle
Licenses--Washington (State)--Seattle
Justice, Administration of--Washington (State)--Seattle
Women--Employment--Washington (State)--Seattle
Pipelines--Washington (State)
Recycling (Waste, etc.)--Washington (State)--Seattle
Heating--Washington (State)--Seattle
Theater--Censorship--Washington (State)--Seattle
Personnel management--Washington (State)--Seattle
Building laws--Washington (State)--Seattle
Plumbing--Inspection--Washington (State)--Seattle
Retirement--Washington (State)--Seattle
Public health--Washington (State)--Seattle
Medicine and Health
Theater--Washington (State)--Seattle
Bridges--Design and construction
Harbor police--Washington (State)--Seattle
Meat inspection
Mortality--Statistics--Washington (State)--Seattle
Art commissions--Washington (State)--Seattle
Real property
Electric power distribution
Sanitary engineering--Washington (State)--Seattle
Embezzlement
Urban transportation--Washington (State)--Seattle
Sports and Recreation
Food adulteration and inspection--Washington (State)
Buses--Washington (State)--Seattle
Acquisition of property--Washington (State)
Maps
Finance, Public--Washington (State)--Seattle--Accounting
Park facilities--Washington (State)--Seattle
Extradition
Freight cars--Drawings
Consumer affairs departments--Washington (State)--Seattle
Timber--Washington (State)
Public utilities--Equipment and supplies
Animal shelters--Washington (State)--Seattle
Water utilities--Washington (State)
Traffic violations--Washington (State)--Seattle
Family services--Washington (State)--Seattle
Embezzlement--Washington (State)--Seattle
Youth employment--Washington (State)--Seattle
Home and Family
Building inspection--Washington (State)--Seattle
Purchasing--Washington (State)--Seattle
Civil Procedure and Courts
Meat inspection--Washington (State)--Seattle
Government and Politics
Human rights--Washington (State)--Seattle
Police patrol--Washington (State)--Seattle
Street-railroad tracks--Drawings
Electricity in transportation
Computer systems--Washington (State)--Seattle
Exports--Washington (State)--Seattle
Sanitation
Motor vehicle fleets--Washington (State)--Seattle
Urban parks--Washington (State)--Seattle
Telecommunication systems--Washington (State)--Seattle
Gas--Washington (State)--Seattle
Youth drug use--Washington (State)--Seattle
Air pollution--Washington (State)--Seattle
Fire investigation
Health boards--Washington (State)
Water resources development--Washington (State)--Seattle
Food adulteration and inspection--Washington (State)--Seattle
Arrest--Washington (State)--Seattle
Community health services--Washington (State)
Transportation
Older people--Services for--Washington (State)--Seattle
Public health--Washington (State)
Community development--Washington (State)--Seattle
Public buildings--Washington (State)--Seattle
Railroads--Track Drawings
Fire departments--Washington (State)--Seattle
Soldiers--Housing--Washington (State)--Seattle
Telephone--Washington (State)--Seattle
Community arts projects--Washington (State)--Seattle
Municipal government
Youth Services for--Washington (State)--Seattle
Traffic regulations--Washington (State)--Seattle
Culverts--Design and construction
Hop pickers--Washington (State)--Seattle
Motor vehicles--Maintenance and repair--Washington (State)--Seattle
Criminal justice, Administration of--Washington (State)--Seattle
Controllership--Washington (State)--Seattle
Electric power distribution--Washington (State)
Recreation--Washington (State)--Seattle
Street-railroads--Rolling stock
Traffic surveys--Washington (State)--Seattle
Railroad passenger cars--Drawings
Performing Arts
Railroad construction workers--Washington (State)--Seattle
Refuse collection--Washington (State)--Seattle
Labor History
Pollution
Railroad tracks--Design and construction
Water and Water Rights
Centers for the performing arts--Washington (State)--Seattle
Fire prevention--Inspection--Washington (State)--Seattle
Curfew--Washington (State)--Seattle
Infrastructure (Economics)
Playgrounds--Washington (State)--Seattle
Street-railroads--Equipment and supplies
Street railroads--Washington (State)--Seattle
Environmental Conditions
Mayor
Examiners (Administrative procedure)--Washington (State)--Seattle
Auditing--Washington (State)--Seattle
Grading (Earthwork)
Building--Drawings
Plumbing--Inspection
Slaughtering and slaughter-houses--Inspection--Washington (State)--Seattle
Quarantine--Washington (State)--Seattle
Panoramas--Censorship--Washington (State)--Seattle
Fire marshals
Stadiums--Washington (State)--Seattle
Logging
Refuse disposal facilities--Washington (State)--Seattle
Censorship--Washington (State)--Seattle
Parks and Playgrounds
Water utilities--Washington (State)--Seattle
Electricity in transportation--Washington (State)--Seattle
Communicable diseases--Washington (State)--Seattle
Drunkenness (Criminal law)--Washington (State)--Seattle
Watersheds--Washington (State)
Human services--Washington (State)--Seattle
Great Fire, Seattle, Wash., 1889
Railroads--Washington (State)--Seattle
License system--Washington (State)--Seattle
Disorderly conduct--Washington (State)--Seattle
Animal welfare--Washington (State)--Seattle
Motion pictures--Censorship--Washington (State)--Seattle
Children and youth
Mortality
Public health
Power-plants--Washington (State)--Seattle
Minority business enterprises--Washington (State)--Seattle
Public libraries--Washington (State)--Seattle
Public Utilities
Municipal employees and officials--Selection and appointment--Washington (State)--Seattle
Skating rinks--Washington (State)--Seattle
Neighborhood planning--Washington (State)--Seattle
Fire prevention--Washington (State)--Seattle
Arts--Censorship--Washington (State)--Seattle
Police--Washington (State)--Seattle
Women--Legal status, laws, etc.--Washington (State)--Seattle
Droughts--Washington (State)--Seattle
Zoning boards--Washington (State)--Seattle
Administrative procedure--Washington (State)--Seattle
Steam-boiler inspection--Washington (State)--Seattle
Slaughtering and slaughter-houses--Inspection
Arson--Washington (State)--Seattle
Childbirth--Statistics--Washington (State)--Seattle
Fires
Wharves--Washington (State)--Seattle
Dairy inspection--Washington (State)--Seattle
Transportation--Planning--Washington (State)--Seattle
Public housing--Washington (State)--Seattle
Electric power--Conservation--Washington (State)--Seattle
Private investigators
Bars (Drinking establishments)--Washington (State)--Seattle
Women's rights--Washington (State)--Seattle
Suggestion systems--Washington (State)--Seattle
Fire fighters--Training of--Washington (State)--Seattle
Museums--Washington (State)--Seattle
Harbors--Washington (State)--Seattle
Consumer protection--Washington (State)--Seattle
Real property--Washington (State)--Seattle
Fire extinction--Washington (State)--Seattle
Civic Activism
Public works--Washington (State)--Seattle
Public works
Police--Pensions--Washington (State)--Seattle
Criminal statistics--Washington (State)--Seattle
Auditing
Music-halls (Variety-theaters, cabarets, etc.)--Washington (State)--Seattle
City planning--Washington (State)--Seattle
Streets--Washington (State)--Seattle
Sea-walls--Washington (State)--Seattle
Arts and Humanities
food adulteration and inspection
Public Finance
Fire prevention
Depression--1893
Business, Industry, and Labor
Municipal government--Washington (State)--Seattle
Trestles--Design and construction
Affirmative action programs--Washington (State)--Seattle
Women
Discrimination in housing--Washington (State)--Seattle
Municipal government--Records and correspondence
Arts--Washington (State)--Seattle
Weights and measures--Washington (State)--Seattle
Streets--Washington (State)--Seattle--Maintenance and repair
Advisory boards--Washington (State)--Seattle
Local transit--Washington (State)--Seattle
Public utilities--Washington (State)--Seattle
Sanitation--Washington (State)--Seattle
Dairy inspection
Housing--Washington (State)--Seattle
Motion picture theaters--Washington (State)--Seattle
Building--Washington (State)--Seattle
Fires--Washington (State)--Seattle
Building permits--Washington (State)--Seattle
Sewerage--Washington (State)--Seattle
Veto
Electric utilities--Washington (State)--Seattle
Land use--Washington (State)--Seattle
City and Town Life
Bridges--Washington (State)--Seattle
Municipal engineering--Washington (State)--Seattle
Fire alarms
Occupation
Fire fighters--Washington (State)--Seattle
Health officers--Washington (State)--Seattle
Fire marshals--Washington (State)--Seattle
Comptrollers--Washington (State)--Seattle
Public librarians--Washington (State)--Seattle
Mayors--Washington (State)--Seattle
Activity
Accountants--Washington (State)--Seattle

Corporate Body

Active 1926

Active 1961

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